NLRB suing Boeing because they want to expand a production line in SC
The National Labor Relations Board is seeking a court order that would require Boeing to maintain its second 787 assembly line in the Pacific Northwest, not at the plant going up in North Charleston.
Boeing Co.'s $750 million aircraft plant in North Charleston is at the heart of a growing labor rift pitting the aerospace giant against one of its biggest unions and now a federal agency.
The National Labor Relations Board sued the company Wednesday, saying Boeing shifted some of its 787 Dreamliner production to South Carolina partly to retaliate against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers for past strikes in Washington state.
The NLRB is seeking a court order that would require Boeing to maintain its second 787 assembly line in the Pacific Northwest, an IAMAW stronghold. If successful, that could stop Boeing from building the plane in North Charleston.
"This claim is legally frivolous and represents a radical departure from both NLRB and Supreme Court precedent," said J. Michael Luttig, Boeing's general counsel.
The lawsuit alleges that the company engaged in unfair labor practices in 2009 when it picked Charleston International Airport as the site of its second 787 assembly plant rather than expand its existing, unionized Dreamliner factory in Everett, Wash.
Employees at the North Charleston plant, which is scheduled to open this summer and manufacture three of the jets a month by 2013, are not represented by a union.
Boeing said it had met with IAMAW officials about keeping the second 787 line in the Puget Sound area but was unable to strike a deal.
It also said it had "every right" under federal law and its collective bargaining agreement with the union to build additional U.S. production capacity outside of its longtime manufacturing base in Washington state.